Do you wish you had made that career move? Wondering what your life would have been like had you not broken up that relationship? Upset you didn’t make time for that vacation?
Life is full of things to regret. Whether it is personal or business, “what ifs” swirl around us with dizzying speed.
The other day I was taking a break from my work to play with my dogs Bella, DiDi and Toby (a common and relaxing ritual). I watched as they chased their tennis ball in the yard. Each of them had a moment in our 30 minutes of play where they missed the ball.
However, they never stopped playing. THEY were running this ballgame and it wasn’t over until they said so (or until I made them stop so I could go back to work).
I enviously thought how the dog probably never has regrets. Here is why:
1. Bark Regularly
When my dogs are unhappy about something, they don’t hold it in. Barks ring through the house. Sometimes, it is not even a full bark but a little noise or grumble to finish expressing how they feel.
If we said how we felt when a regretful situation was on the table, we would probably save ourselves a lot of tossing and turning at night.
While strategy and politics could be at play when regret threatens, there still is no reason why you can’t politely and intelligently say how you feel.
Bark it out!
2. Protect Your Yard
I don’t exactly know why but my dogs hate the squirrels that are always invading our backyard.
They chase the bushy-tailed animals off our property no matter what time of day, rain, snow or shine.
We have to be as vigilant with demoralizing feelings as my dogs are with squirrels. Bella, DiDi and Toby wouldn’t let squirrels stay more than 2 minutes in their yard.
Why are you letting negativity and unproductive thoughts take up your mind space?
3. Bury It
Dogs bury things that have had meaning to them such as a special bone or toy.
Whatever you regret in your life was at one time incredibly important. Why else would it still linger in your mind?
Specifically, write down your regret(s) on a piece of paper. Include dates, details and any other pertinent information. Allow yourself to feel whatever emotions may come over you while jotting this down.
Then release this paper into the trash.
By giving that part of your life a proper burial, now you can move onto bigger and better things.
By Margot Ahlquist,creator of Paws to Talk, professional life coach and blogger. She has helped hundreds of people live happier and simpler lives by solving problems using a dog's point of view.